Weather Wise Kids: How many clouds are in the sky?


Hey Emma, thanks for the question! I wish I could give you an exact number, but unfortunately it’s not that easy.  

By using satellite images we know that at any particular time half our planet is covered by clouds. If you’re like me you may love looking up at the sky and checking out the different cloud formations. Clouds (or lack thereof) tell us a lot about what is happening in the atmosphere and helps a meteorologist forecast the weather.

The number of clouds in the sky depends on the weather conditions for that day. A cloud is a large collection of very tiny droplets of water or ice crystals. The droplets are so small and light that they can float in the air. For clouds to form you need moisture in the air.

The white fluffy clouds that often form fun shapes in the sky are called cumulus clouds and hint at calm weather. Those are easier to count individually. Stratus clouds are more spread out, like sheets in the sky. Those would be more difficult to count. High up in the atmosphere you may see cirrus clouds. Because these clouds are thin and wispy, it would also be hard to count them individually.

There are 10 main types of cloud formations and each type tells you something different about the days weather. On quiet weather days, the sky may look the same from sunrise to sunset, but on active days you will see several different types of clouds form. The wind will blow clouds across the sky, so one minute you may see a cloud, then the next it may be gone. The different movements and changes in clouds play an important role in our weather, bringing rain, shade or sun to different places at different times.

Thanks for the question! Enjoy watching the clouds.



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